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ונתנה הארץ פריה ואכלתם לשבע... וכי תאמרו מה נאכל בשנה השביעית... וצויתי את ברכתי

The land will give its fruit and you will eat your fill… if you will say: “What will we eat in the seventh year?” I will ordain my blessing. (25:19, 20, 21)

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Sforno distinguishes between the baal bitachon, one who trusts in Hashem, who does not question, “What will we eat in the seventh year?” and he who questions. The one who does not question will, indeed, have less produce; however, its nutritional value will far exceed that of a regular year. He will have less, but he will require less. Less will be more. His seventh year will be covered by the produce of the sixth year, but in a manner unperceived by the unknowing spectator who will observe a regular yield that year. The believer whose bitachon is not as strong will ask the question and will receive a Heavenly response in the way of a greater yield in the sixth year. His crops will be plentiful – enough to last him through the following year. Nonetheless, these crops will be of normal quality, unenhanced by “Heavenly intervention.”

Horav Mordechai Gifter, zl, derives from Sforno’s exposition that there are two forms of bitachon in Hashem. One form of bitachon is that of the person who totally desires to fulfill Hashem’s Will, but wonders how he will succeed in doing so, given the economic challenges he must transcend. His bitachon is great, for even though he does not know how he will survive the seventh year, he still is prepared to accept the challenge. He has questions, but he is not waiting for answers. He forges ahead, in any case.

There is yet a greater level of trust: one does not ask questions. He trusts without inquiry; he is not fazed by challenge. His bitachon is so great that he is not concerned about what he will eat, because he trusts that Hashem will provide for his needs. Hashem may not grant us what we want, but He unquestionably gives us what we need.

People may have one of two forms of faith: perception and reality. Both types of people believe: one has questions, but does not wait for answers; the other has no questions. The faith of the perceptive believer is based upon intelligence and percipience. He observes, is astute and insightful, thus pointing him in the direction of Hashem. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, it is “faith-based” trust. For the other type of believer, faith is a reality. Believing in Hashem is not an intellectual experience, an exercise in faith. It is reality. If Hashem says it will be good – it is good!

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